Actress Qin Hailu is a graduate of the Chinese Central Drama School; there she attended classes with fellow actress Zhang Ziyi. In 2000 she was awarded Best Actress at the 6th Hong Kong Film Awards and was nominated at the 57th Cannes Film Festival for her role in Fruit Chan's movie Durian Durian. Since then, the relatively unknown actress, who had never appeared in any other film or television productions, began gaining a reputation. On today's People, we look at the career of rising star Qin Hailu.
Durian Durian follows the path of a young woman, Yan, from northern China as she struggles to make a living in a dirty precinct of Hong Kong, and her return to family life after she abandons the world of prostitution in the big city. In the film, as Yan scrambles to make a living as a prostitute, she's also constantly eating, but the food is as much a distraction as anything else.
Actress Qin Hailu said, "It doesn't matter what Yan does in Hong Kong. When she comes home everyone just looks up to her, and they really admire the fact that she has gone to work in the big city, and that's very sad."
Many have said that the actress made her achievements based purely on her acting skills. And it's only because she's not seen as a screen beauty that her career did not take off as quickly as Zhang Ziyi's. After Durian Durian, Qin took a break from acting. And then in 2002, determined to further her career, the actress began to make more films.
Appearing in art house movies
In 2002, Qin also appeared in director Yip Wai Man's movie Loving Him with Hong Kong actor Daniel Chan. In the film, Chan plays a young doctor working for the United Nations. He meets country girl Lu played by Qin, when he's sent to work in the Sichuan countryside. As the story develops, the two unexpectedly fall in love. Despite much effort, the film failed to gain much attention and was not well received in theaters. Soon after, the actress even took on a few roles in television. But at that point, Qin was still most recognized for her acting in Durian Durian.
1. 2002, Durian Durian
2. 2002, Loving Him
3. 2002, Chicken Poets
4. 2004, Hidden Heroes
5. 2004, Love Battlefield
6. 2004, The Coldest Day
Putting more focus on acting
Also in 2002, Qin starred in the movie Chicken Poets directed by Chinese Musical director Meng Jinghuai. In the film, Qin plays Fang Fang, a colorblind country girl, who dreams of leaving her village in search of a new life. This is Qin's favorite film so far, and the actress was happy with her performance.
Actress Qin Hailu said, "The reason why I like this film so much is because it is really the collaborative effort of everyone working on this film, and as an actress I was given a lot more creative freedom than I'm used to.”
The actress says it was a liberating experience to be given the space for creativity, and she used it well. A number of scenes in the movie such as this one of Fang Fang eating tomatoes with a straw to make things appear more interesting were totally Qin's idea.
Starting a singing career
In May this year the actress came out with her own album Happiness. It's said that when Qin's vocal tracks were taken to Taiwan for mixing, many industry professionals commented on her singing as exceptionally good. The actress herself is proud of her work. Actually Qin began singing quite early on in life; as a nine year old, Qin was singing to a different tune as she was trained in the art of Peking Opera. Exactly how good of a singer is the actress?
The album definitely reveals a different side of Qin Hailu
Actress Qin Hailu said, "I feel very different this time when I'm signing autographs, I think fans of my movies often see me as the parts that I play, but my singing tells more about the real me, and fans of the album appreciate me for the person that I am. And that's especially gratifying."
(CCTV July 27, 2005)